Baby & Me Yoga Sequence

Song & Movement

Itsy Bitsy Spider – Comfy Seat / Baddha Konasana

Wheels on the bus – Comfortable Seating

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes – Wide Legs

ABC – Hip Circles

 

Flow

Hands Knees 

Cat / Cow

Child’s Pose

Down Down 

Sun Birds

Side Planks

Planks 

Dynamic Cobra

Opposite Extension – Salabhasana

Uttanasana Fold

Tadasana

Standing Side Stretch

Step Back Low Lunges

Salutations

Side Angle

Triangle – Twinkle Twinkle

Half Moon – Zoom Zoom Zoom

 

Standing Poses

Squats – Down Down Down (1/3)

Step Back Lunges

Warrior 3

Squats with Arm Press (1/3)

Warrior 1 (baby front hip) / Warrior 2 (baby back hip)

Malasana Squats (1/3)

 

Floor Core / Play Time

Step Back to the Floor

Seated Supported Boat / Spinal Health – Row Your Boat (strap?)

Jumping Baby – Counting 1, 2, 3 

Rolling – Wee!

Baby Fly (on shins infants / on feet toddlers)

Bridge Poses – 2 sets of 10 with baby 

Freestyle / Leg Lifts / Bicycles / Double Exhale Sit Up – Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Cool Down – Chill Time

Long Exhale (with sound)

Baddha Konasana – Forward fold

Pigeon

Straight Leg Forward Fold – Head Shoulders Knees Toes

Supine Floor Twist

Happy Baby

 

Closing Thoughts

What’s a commitment for self-care?

What energy are you looking to cultivate?

What is your “I AM” statement?

 

Final Relaxation – Long Exhale

Quiet Time / Relaxation / Meditation

Savasana / Side Lying Savasana

Legs Up the Wall

Seated Meditation Against Wall

HOMESCHOOLING MADE SIMPLE

To listen to this blog post on my podcast, click here!

Recently, my children’s school was canceled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Even though my kiddos only go to preschool for about 3 hours a day, I will never take those 3 consecutive hours of free time for granted ever again.

Now that my twins are home all day every day, I’ve taken it upon myself to homeschool them in a fun, creative, and interactive way. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not forever, but I’m giving it my best.

5 REASONS WHY I’M HOMESCHOOLING MY KIDS DURING COVID-19

  1. Due to this Pandemic and subsequent lockdown, I’ve got nothing but time. Most of my work is in person and therefore it’s been canceled.
  2. A child’s brain develops more rapidly from birth to age 5 than any other time in their life. They’re always absorbing everything, so I want to be a positive role model and guide their learning curriculum with love and attention.
  3. Like most kids, if left to their own devices, my children are prone to creating conflict or displaying attention seeking behavior which can cause stress for everyone. Instead, I’d prefer to provide them with fun and engaging activities to harness their energy.
  4. We don’t get much screen time in our house because we found that when we do, the kids get moody and don’t sleep as well at night. Rather than having TV on all the time, or negotiating when to watch it, we have specific times of day when educational TV shows are allowed and we use it as a tool. Watching it sparingly makes it more special.
  5. I find it really fun to be part of the kids’ learning process. It stimulates my creativity to think of exciting ways to teach them something new every day and it’s the best to watch their little light bulbs going off when they grasp new ideas.

5 TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR HOMESCHOOL

  1. RELEASE A NEED FOR PERFECTION

Your homeschool doesn’t have to be perfect or pinterest worthy. It doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take all day. I think the most important part of homeschooling during this strange and stressful time is that it feels playful and makes learning fun. Trust that you have a lot to teach your kiddos and you’re creative enough to find fun ways to engage them.

  1. CREATE A ROUTINE

Creating structure and having a routine creates a sense of security. At our home, we have certain windows of time when we eat, when we brush our teeth, when we nap or have quiet time, and when play inside vs outside. 

We also found that what works for us is doing more of the sitting down inside activities in the morning after breakfast and then shifting to outdoor activities before lunch. Things are a little more relaxed after nap and we try to go for an “adventure” in the afternoon.

  1. START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

For the past two plus weeks of homeschooling, I’ve used everything that I already owned like crayons, markers, paper, scissors, puzzles, blocks, storybooks, coloring books, workbooks, kitchen tools and kids toys. Granted, when I heard that school might be canceled for another 2 months, I purchased a few more specific supplies online, but mostly everything I’m using I already had.

  1. CHOOSE A THEME FOR YOUR DAY

When you pick a theme, you can utilize all the resources you have at your disposal to support your theme and be a little more flexible with the “lesson plan.” Later in this article, I share all the categories that are considered for children’s education and you’ll notice that oftentimes many activities can satisfy multiple educational categories. 

For instance, if the theme of our day is color, we can use color in art, language, motor skills and math. When I’m preparing the lesson, I can grab all the books, toys, and tools that support my theme while thinking of fun ways to integrate everything.

  1. DON’T FORCE IT, BE FLEXIBLE

Most kids have relatively short attention spans. Cultivating focus and concentration is an important skill for them to learn at this age. So I try not to force anything on them but rather help them get interested in what I’m teaching.

When my children are concentrating, whether it be building a train track, playing with stickers, or looking at a book, I don’t force them to stop what they’re doing and shift to the homeschool activity I have planned. Oftentimes if I start an activity with one child and we’re having fun, chances are the other kid will WANT to participate.

THE BASIC CATEGORIES OF EDUCATION

Below are the overall categories of learning in childhood education plus examples of how I incorporate each of them into our homeschool lessons. One thing that’s also nice to remember is that even when our COVID-19 Quarantine is over, all of these activities and lessons can still be great supplemental education to what they’re learning at school.

Language: 

  • Recognizing Letters (upper and lower case)
  • Rhyming games and songs
  • Storytelling or Dictating letters to family and friends
  • Practice writing by hand: Names, words or individual letters
  • Spelling out loud words found in favorite books

Math: 

  • Recognizing numbers & counting anything and everything
  • Practice adding and subtracting with items, abacus, or fingers
  • Fractions (if I cut this sandwich in half, how many pieces do I have?)
  • Baking to work with measurements and following a process 
  • Create your own clock to discuss time, seconds, minutes, hours, etc.

Science: 

  • Talk about or draw body parts from limbs and organs to the skeleton and bones
  • Explore plants and animals with gardening, nature walks or scavenger hunts looking for animals like ants, worms, butterflies, etc.
  • Discuss weather, climate, seasons, environments, etc.
  • Get a Butterfly Habitat or build your own Wormery
  • Constantly observe and discuss the world around you

Fine Motor Skills: 

  • Stringing beads, lacing, buttoning and zipping
  • Cutting with child friendly scissors
  • Picking up small objects with tongs
  • Holding a utensils, pencils or crayons
  • Playing with sensory toys like Play-Doh, noodles, rice, beans or water beads using cups, spoons, a ladle, or bowls

Gross Motor Skills: 

  • Hopping on one foot, skipping, or jumping rope
  • Throwing, catching and kicking a ball
  • Walking on a line forward and backward
  • Walking up and down steps
  • Imitate animal movements with Yoga or freestyle

Geography: 

  • Look at maps of the world or your country
  • Sing the 7 Continents song (there are so many versions!)
  • Talk about where certain animals live in the world
  • Try different cultural food, including language or music from the location
  • Watch a documentary or Nature show (We love If I Were An Animal on Netflix)

Music: 

  • Sing a capella or with recording
  • Have a dance party taking turns leading movements 
  • Play instruments: drums, piano or keyboard, guitar or ukulele
  • Make up songs throughout the day
  • Watch videos of live music with different instruments

Art: 

  • Explore primary and secondary colors with sorting, identifying and mixing
  • Play with shapes via puzzles, tracing, toys
  • Explore water colors, washable paints, crayons, stickers, markers, dot dots
  • Face the Foliage: go on a walk to gather flowers, stick, leaves, then sort and create faces (look up #facethefoliage) or create other pieces of art
  • Dry bundles of flowers like roses or leaves like rosemary or sage

Character Development: 

  • Show kindness to neighbors: say hello, write notes, bring supplies
  • Help with household chores: making bed, sweeping, empty dishwasher, put clothes from washer to dryer, clean up toys
  • Care for animals: Take care of pets or the insects you find on nature walks
  • Cultivate Gratitude: Give thanks before meals or at bedtime
  • Create a Positive Affirmation Coloring Book 

STAY CONNECTED

To see some of my homeschooling in action, visit instagram.com/gigiyogini and watch the story highlight on my profile. 

Remember, your homeschooling doesn’t have to look like mine or any other parent’s, but hopefully you get some ideas and inspiration. 

You can also ask your mom friends what they’re doing with their kids during lockdown or do a simple Google search for “Homeschooling Freebies” and you’ll be amazed by how many great resources (including print outs) there are!

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or ideas and I’d love to see your activities too. It’s so important to stay connected and to support each other, especially during times like these. 

I know you’re doing your best. I’m proud of you. Keep up the great work!

Note to Self: I am Blessed

I’m really not trying to be dramatic, but this has been a challenging year. I literally started 2019 with my head in a bucket – so sick that I was in and out of the ER without any relief.

It turns out, many of my symptoms including severe nausea, headaches, and chronic back pain could be attributed to a congenital kidney issue that I had learned about in 2009.

Back then, when my doctor suggested surgery, I refused. Instead, I tried a holistic approach. But sometimes physical circumstances cannot be fixed without science and technology, and this was one of them.

In January, I had my first surgery. In September, I had my second. And two weeks ago today, I had my third (and hopefully final) surgery.

As soon as I got home from the hospital last week, with strict orders to rest, we had the Palisades Fire just a few miles to the West.

This week, it was the Getty Fire a few miles to the East.

Some of my family members had to evacuate their homes and some of them haven’t been able to return yet. Plus for the past week, the kids’ school has canceled and did I mention that our Nanny left for another family last month!?

So it’s been a lot.

It’s been so much that I had a moment of frustration and wrote on Facebook:

“This was a hard day, well, more like a tough week. Actually, it’s been a pretty rough month. Eh. Who am I kidding? This whole year has been a freakin’ sh*t show. Seriously, this has been a brutal but beautiful year. Such is life.”

I know, looking at it now, it kinda sounds like I’m complaining. But sometimes it’s ok to acknowledge that things are difficult.

Just like my latest instagram post with a quote from Alex Elle:

“Note to Self: Even on difficult days, I trust that I am blessed.”

I know that I am blessed.

I know that I have countless things to be grateful for.

I know that I am a survivor.

And yet, I’m still kinda having a hard time.

No Zen Master Here. #notperfect

Just for the record, I am not perfect. My life is not perfect…

..and what does that mean anyway?!

This social media world definitely makes it easier to perceive peoples lives to be “perfect” because we share mostly the prettiest pictures with positive vibes, but I just want to set the record straight: My life & I are not perfect.

Just in case any of you were wondering.

For instance, a couple mornings ago I was crouched in a fetal position in my kitchen, crying (sobbing), hiding from my twins while my husband did the morning routine. I even stayed in that position to drink some coffee because

I just needed a f-ing break.

Or how about the nights when I flop face first onto my bed with sheer exhaustion the moment my kids go to sleep at 7pm!? Even though I still have things to do. Or mornings, like today, when I get up at 4am to console a crying baby & then try to go back to sleep but I can’t because I’m totally overwhelmed with anxiety, so I just get up!?

See, not perfect.

Sometimes I regret my life choices & think waaaaay too much about what life would be like if I had done things differently. Sometimes I feel like I will never fulfill my potential. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have a partner. Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels…wait, that’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyrics.

Anyway, you get the point.

Even though I post pretty pictures, positive mantras & share my successes, don’t be fooled. I struggle too. We all do. Life can be messy at times but that’s just life, right?!

 

 

Is your life messy? Comment below!

My Birth Story

As my twins approach a year an a half, I decided to return to BIRTHFIT and their Postpartum program to build strength and community. On day 1, coach Embo gave us the assignment to write our birth story, which I had always wanted to do, but never got done. I had shared the story verbally on the BIRTHFIT podcast, but I hadn’t taken the time to write it. So I was grateful for the assignment and here it is…

 

** TRIGGER WARNING**

My Birth Story

I was very intentional when I was picking my options for a wedding day. I chose weekends that were during a waxing moon (between the new and full moon) and no where close to my menstrual cycle. We eventually landed on August 22, 2015.

It was a beautiful morning wedding outdoors overlooking the ocean with a jazz brunch and dance party that followed. The next day we left for our Hawaiian honeymoon where we spent 10 days resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

After arriving home, we were in bliss. We both went back to work and things seemed relatively normal except my period never came. We were pregnant. Like, whoa. I had joked to friends that I wanted to get preggers on my honeymoon but I couldn’t believe that it actually happened.

Just like that.

It was two weeks before we saw the doctor and when we went in for our first ultrasound, she asked: “Do you see that?” as she pointed to two ovals on the screen and held up two fingers, like a peace symbol.

“SHUT UP!” I blurted.

“There’s two,” she said. “You’re having twins.”

I was in shock.

Twins!?

I’m not exactly sure what happened next. I just remember my husband Antonio talking about getting a minivan.

Long story short, the pregnancy had it’s ups and downs.

We were encouraged not to tell anyone because there’s always a chance that you might miscarry one or both of your twins. The concept felt counter intuitive but I only told my mom and my friend Corti.

To everyone else, it felt like we were keeping a very big secret and I hated it.

I started to isolate myself. I didn’t want to see friends because I didn’t want to lie. So I just immersed myself in work which eventually took it’s toll on me.

I was working full time for Yoga Journal Magazine & Events while teaching 6am and 6pm classes at YogaWorks. Plus I was teaching weekend yoga classes at the Viceroy Hotel and juggling a handful of private clients.

I was tired. Eventually sharing the pregnancy was a great relief.

On the day of our 30 week check up, Antonio and I were not getting along and I had an anxiety attack. We went to the doctors office and I could hardly hold myself together.

I was told that everything looked “perfect” but before I left, I mentioned to the doctor that I couldn’t feel the babies kicking as much as I was used to. She suggested that we go across the street to the hospital for fetal monitoring and 20 minutes later I was listening to the heart beats of my children.

Little did I know, I was having contractions every five minutes. I just thought it was gas. Hah. I was immediately admitted into the maternity floor for preterm labor and began a series of tests. Results indicated that I was going into labor.

It was a new moon.

Needless to say, delivering at 30 weeks is not ideal. I was put on bed rest (something I was previously against) and given a cocktail of steroids and medicine to stop the contractions and protect the babies. I was still in the hospital a week later when all my friends gathered for my baby shower, without me.

I was able to go home, on bed rest, for another week before my water broke in the middle of the night. I didn’t want to believe it. But I woke up Antonio and we called the hospital for advice. They told us to come in.

It was 2am and a full moon.

My doctor had just delivered a baby so she checked in on us. After sunrise the contractions started swelling. My doctor was not available and I wasn’t allowed to move. I just laid there and let the painful waves of labor wash over me. The nurses kept calling my doctor but she was telling the nurses to wait. When I started to feel the urge to push, a nurse lifted my bed sheet to check me and could tell that our daughter was crowning. Her head was at my cervix.

From there it was a whirlwind. The nurses were scared and the anesthesiologist was downright frenetic. They began to argue with each other in front of me. The nurse kept repeating that the doctor wanted us to wait and the anesthesiologist kept repeating, loudly, “I overrule. I overrule! We need to take her to the O.R. (operating room) NOW!”

“Excuse me,” I finally said. “Can we all just take a deep breath and calm down?”

The room fell silent for a moment, somebody chuckled, and then the chaos ensued. I was wheeled to the operating room, told to roll over and curl into a fetal position, got a shot in my spine, had my sports bra cut off, and it was go time.

So in a room full of masked strangers, I started to push my daughter out into the world. They let me kiss her forehead for the briefest moment before whisking her away to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

I asked Antonio to please go with her.

The doctors started massaging my stomach trying to get our son, who was breached, to flip. But no luck. Alarms starting screeching and my doctor told me his heart rate was dropping so they had to take him out via c-section.

Next thing I knew I was being cut, feeling a hot searing sensation as if the pain medicine hadn’t quite kicked in, I was jerked a little from side to side, and then he was out. They started to take him until a nurse advocated for me and said, “let her see her son!” They held him up briefly at the doorway before leaving.

In a room full of people, I never felt so alone.

My doctor started sewing me up and began discussing her upcoming family vacation with the doctor next to her, as if I wasn’t even present. I remember thinking that I should say something clever but I passed out and woke up behind a curtain in a recovery room alone.

At some point, I was wheeled into the NICU while still in a hospital bed. I’m not sure where Antonio was. I was placed between the two incubators of my twins and I put one hand into each.

The twins each grabbed one of my index fingers, with their teeny tiny little hands, and the nurse named, Hwa, took a picture.

For me, there is something so sweet and so sad about that memory. I can’t help but cry.

In the end, my birth experience definitely was nothing like I had expected or hoped for, but it’s what happened. And I have to say, my children are the greatest gifts in the world. They are healthy, happy, and absolutely hilarious.

Nearly a year and a half later, I keep re-learning the same lesson:

Life is mostly out of my control but it’s my choice to show up with grace, faith, and a sense of humor.

Mexico with Mary

I’ve been so honored to have the love and joy of Mary Haberski in my life. I met her as a student in one of my Naam Yoga classes years ago and quickly realized she was a shining star. She started being my go-to sub for classes, then my main model for YogaVibes videos, eventually hosting her as a teacher at my studio.

Being around Mary is a total blessing. Her humor, wisdom and excitement for life are contagious. I feel so blessed to call her a friend.

In a week, Mary will be leading a yoga adventure retreat in Mexico (no experience required)! She still has a few spaces left for anyone feeling spontaneous and inspired to live life to the fullest.

Here’s a little more about Mary:

What attracted you to yoga?

What attracted me to yoga, during the VHS era, was that it made me calm yet energized at the same time. I was highly stressed working full time as a retail manager and going to college full time as a student. Yoga helped to center me and calm my anxiety, and it still does today!

Why do you teach yoga?

I have dedicated my life to teaching yoga because it miraculously changed me emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I remember the moment I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It took me a while to build the confidence and courage to take the leap, but I am so thankful I did! Now it is my pure pleasure to be of service to people of all ages and body types, offering this life altering practice all around the world!

What’s your teaching style?

My style of teaching are vinyasa, hatha, yin and restorative and my classes include lots of yummy massage, hands on adjustments, essential oils, meditation, and is rooted in spirituality. I ensure to make it accessible for everyone! What I hear most is that my message and love is deeply felt by my students.

What are you most excited about right now?

 Right now I am most excited about my transformational yoga retreat in Mexico! This will not just be a typical yoga retreat in a beautiful setting, it is a journey for the mind, body and spirit. You will be amazed with the realizations that will occur, how quickly your body positively responds to healthy foods, the yoga asana practice, and meditation. You will be also breaking though thought patterns that cause limitations in your life, blocking you from you true potential. No previous experience in yoga is needed, if you are new to the practice, we can’t think of a better place to start. If you’re a seasoned yogi, it’s time to get deeper into your practice.

For more info about Mary’s retreat, CLICK HERE

Women’s Circles on Fridays in March

When women gather, healing happens.

In March, I’m hosting a women’s circle every Friday.

Share from your heart in a sacred circle of sisters, mothers, daughters, and babies before breathing together with intention. All ages and stages of womanhood welcome.

What the experience is like:

  • Gather, enjoy tea.
  • Circle introductions
  • Sharing on a topic
  • Conscious breathing
  • Intentional closure
  • Go back out into the world with extra inspiration.

By donation.

If money is an issue, feel free to bring any the following:

  • flowers
  • candles
  • matches
  • crystals
  • house plants
  • tea
  • chocolate
  • essential oils
  • nuts & fruit to share


What women have said about circles…

“The women’s circle is a beautiful thing. It’s a safe space where we can all share the good and the scary without judgement. We laugh, we cry, we feel empowered and supported by these strong souls, and ready to take on anything.” – Ginger P.

“What a beautiful reminder that we’re not in it alone. A guaranteed highlight to any week.” – Tonya G.

“The women’s circle was full of warmth, acceptance and kindness. It was a calm place to let down my guard and connect with others.” – Kalani K.

What women have said about Gigi…

“Brigitte is a powerful and necessary voice of inclusion, positivity and love in today’s world. She evenly holds space for all points of view and with her quiet strength, she propels the yoga world forward.” – Jocelyn S.

“Gigi’s classes are very soulful and caring. She really invests her heart into her teaching and as a student you feel that. I always walk away from her classes feeling more in touch and accepting of myself.” – Angela R.


Gigi Yogini Studio
12115 W. Ohio Ave.

West Los Angeles 90025

VISIT www.GIGIYOGINI.com

SUPPORT: The Africa Yoga Project

Support the Africa Yoga Project by donating any amount HERE.

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It was the summer before I left to go to boarding school. I was about to be a new Junior at a High School where I only knew one person but luckily I met a girl, Chelsea McNabb, at a backyard party of a family friend. She was going to be in my class and we became quick friends.

Little did I know, she was going to be one of my best friends for the next 15+ years.

One thing that I loved about Chelsea was the fact that she worked on a ranch in Kenya over the summer with her family who lived there. She told me all about it and we promised that one day we’d go to Kenya together.

After graduating from separate colleges in 2004, we finally embarked on 3 weeks in Kenya and South Africa with our moms. It was an adventure that I will always remember.

Since then, Chelsea has continued visit to Kenya to work and support the community. Her trips started getting longer and longer until she decided to move there in 2012. Now she is training with the Africa Yoga Project and raising money for their awesome organization.

Please help Chelsea exceed her fundraising goal by donating any amount HERE.

Chelsea’s courage and commitment has always inspired me. Please show your support by donating or sharing. Any amount helps.

Namaste. Asante.

Africa Yoga Project Mission

Africa Yoga Project educates, empowers, elevates and employs youth from Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Our vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities.